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Climate Change - Essay Example

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Although it is expected that climate changes from time to time over long geographical periods depending on factors like the sun’s strength,…
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Download file "Climate Change essay" to see previous pages... The difference between the climate change that takes place over long geographical periods and the present climate change brought about by global warming is that whilst the former is a natural phenomenon, the latter is anthropogenic or man-made in origin.
The earth’s temperature is the product of a ping-pong game between the sun and the earth.
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The sun constantly and continuously gives off energy in the form of sunlight and radiates it to the earth’s atmosphere. The solar energy that touches the earth’s atmosphere is either absorbed by some of the earth’s particles or transmitted. The heat that reaches the earth’s surface is then emitted back to the atmosphere as infrared radiation. However, not all of the infrared radiation successfully passes out of the earth’s atmosphere because some atmospheric components absorbs and therefore prevents infrared radiation from entirely leaving the atmosphere, The trapped heat is then eventually reradiates back to the earth’s surface (see Fig. 1). Such heat-trapping components are called greenhouse gases and the process of absorbing, trapping and reradiating infrared heat to the earth’s surface is called the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is what sustains life on earth because without it earth would be more than 30°C colder than what it should be and therefore, inhabitable by humans, animals and plants. The present global warming is attributed to the more than usual amount of heat trapped and reradiated back by the greenhouses gases to the earth’s surfacea (Great Britain: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2006 8; Ebbing & Gammon 210; Hardy 2003 3).
There are two classifications of gases found in the earth’s atmosphere: the primary gases made up of nitrogen, oxygen and argon which make up 99% of the gases, and; the trace gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOX), ...Download file "Climate Change essay" to see next pagesRead More
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